Scott Walker plans to spend next week formally launching his presidential campaign — and then visiting five states in six days, a whirlwind trip that includes stops at four shops that sell Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
The Republican governor of Wisconsin is a bit obsessed with Harley-Davidson, a Milwaukee-based company that he likes to plug while on the road. He started riding more than a decade ago while working as the Milwaukee County executive and now owns a 2003 Road King. For a candidate who can sometimes come across as a bit straight-laced and dorky, riding a Harley has helped Walker exude a more laid-back, rough-and-tumble image. He likes to riff on the freedom that comes with a long ride and he has pledged to ride a Harley in New Hampshire and South Carolina. (He knocked out a nearly 40-mile ride in Iowa last month.)
Walker will start the week in the Milwaukee suburbs, signing his state's budget into law on Sunday afternoon and then jumping into the race for president on Monday evening. On Tuesday morning, he's off to Las Vegas to visit the Red Rock Harley-Davidson. On Wednesday, he will be in South Carolina, stopping at the Low Country Harley-Davidson in North Charleston and barbecue joints in Lexington and Mauldin. That night he is making a quick trip to Atlanta. On Thursday, Walker will be in New Hampshire, visiting a diner in Amherst and the Seacoast Harley-Davidson in North Hampton.
Then on Friday, Walker is kicking off a three-day tour of Iowa, crossing the entire state twice in a Winnebago. For months, Walker has been heavily focusing on Iowa, home to the first in the nation nominating contest. His aides have said that a key to Walker's success in 2016 is winning Iowa — and already he is leading in early polls.
He starts Friday in Davenport, then heads to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art and wraps up his first day at his campaign's Iowa headquarters in the Des Moines suburbs. Walker will start Saturday at a grocery store in Council Bluffs, just over the river from Omaha, then visit a GOP office in Sioux City and the Carroll Cycle Center — a motorcycle dealer in western Iowa that sells Harleys. That evening, Walker will give remarks at the Family Leadership Summit at Iowa State University in Ames and finish the day in Haverhill. On Sunday, Walker will stop by an event for a Republican state representative in Cedar Falls and visit Dubuque. He might also sneak in a visit to Plainfield, a tiny town in northeast Iowa where he and his family lived for seven years when he was growing up.